As a real-life Lolita story, The Last of Robin Hood should be oozing with intrigue. Instead, this film about the final two years of Errol Flynn—who played the titular swashbuckler in 1938—and his romance with a wannabe starlet proves simultaneously tepid and icky. The ick factor is perhaps inevitable. When Flynn (Kevin Kline) met Beverly Aadland (Dakota Fanning) in 1957, she was 15 and he was nearly 50. As portrayed here, their first dalliance amounts to no less than rape. Even so, Beverly is quickly swept away by his charms, and as played by Kline, Flynn is a skeezeball, but one who shows genuine tenderness toward his teenage paramour—he calls her "Woodsey" because she reminds him of a woodland nymph. Beverly, meanwhile, isn't a total naif: She knows Flynn could help spark her career. Even more acutely aware of potential career advancement is Beverly's mother, Florence (Susan Sarandon), a failed former dancer with a wooden leg who dreams of living vicariously through her daughter's imminent fame. (Beverly's dad sees through it: "He's a walking penis," he says of Flynn—who had in fact narrowly dodged statutory rape charges not long before.) Florence gets the harshest treatment from directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, who show her clawing at a tell-all book deal about the affair. But in apparent fear of sensationalizing the story—and really, would we want raunchy sex scenes between Kline and Fanning?—Glatzer and Westmoreland wind up producing a stiff, visually static film without any oomph or bite.
Critic's Grade: C+
SEE IT: The Last of Robin Hood is rated R. It opens Friday at Fox Tower and Kiggins Theatre.